Greece’s hopes for the creation of a transitional relocation mechanism that would see refugees and migrants being moved to other European Union countries were dashed on Thursday after a reported lack of response at Thursday’s meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels.
Considering that this was the council’s last meeting before European Parliament elections in May, the Greek government is now seen to be in a tight spot.
Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas says that three years after the EU-Turkey deal to stem migrant flows into Europe, their numbers in Greece have risen to more than 70,000 and are expected to increase further due to improved weather conditions in the spring and summer.
According to most recent data of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, some 5,137 people arrived in Greece between the beginning of the year and March 4. Of these, 3,634 came by sea.